Three random thoughts from a Hong Kong millennial.
Last week was a flurry of assignments, little sleep, and petty fights. I don’t think I would’ve gotten through the week, if not for the little joys in life. So, here, I want to honor things like a good chewy skewer of fishballs and the bus driver that waits for you.
Like how, last week, I finally purchased a good tinted moisturizer. Yeah, it’s quite superficial, but I feel great knowing that my skin is protected from the sun and that my exhaustion isn’t free for everyone to see. Just THINKING that I look more radiant made me act more radiant.
But the best small thing that happened was meeting a waiter — finally! — who did not automatically assume that I ordered the smaller serving size or that my boyfriend was paying. Instead, he inquired about who ordered the bigger bowl of rice with ALL the toppings and asked whose credit card we were using. Small gestures, but it was a pleasant surprise not be cast into gender roles.
This newsletter that I really like recently asked readers to submit stories about what life was like before smartphones. The responses are funny, thoughtful, moving, and it’s inspired me to write my own. Here it is:
There are worse things than sending someone a text message intended for someone else. Growing up, my friends and I made lots of phone calls, starting almost the minute we got home from school. We knew the ins-and-outs of each other’s voices. Or at least I thought I did.
One day, I forget why, but I really needed to talk to my friend H. I dialed his number, and he picked up, but insisted that he wasn’t H. “Please call later,” he kept saying. H always liked pulling pranks and exasperating others, so I felt extremely annoyed. I called him an asshole. I didn’t understand why he was avoiding me; I felt disrespected. After what seemed like half an hour of trying to just get him to listen, I gave up. I think I called a friend afterwards to complain about how annoying H was.
Then a couple hours later, H called me back. I launched into full attack, accusing him of being a jerk. Then he amusingly said what the hell was wrong with me; that was his older brother. UGH. I wanted to dig a hole and hide there for a week or two. They honestly sounded the same! The worst thing was, at the time, his brother was cute and grown-up, so it was doubly mortifying to have acted like an idiot in front of him.
This great story about fairytales and sexism: “In ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ Hansel speaks more often and for longer than his sister, and the first phrase he utters to her happens to be, ‘Quiet, Gretel.’ This explicit shushing is a common thread throughout the Grimms’ take on folklore; spells of silence are cast on women more than they are on men, and the characters most valued by male suitors are those who speak infrequently, or don’t speak at all.”